Selling a car privately has long been a way for people to potentially make more money for their vehicle than trading it in at a dealership. But it has always been a laborious process. You need to photograph your car from all angles, create ads, take calls and texts from strangers, and then meet them so they can test drive your car and close the deal. Adding potential exposure to COVID-19 during in-person interactions and suddenly selling your vehicle that way can be downright unattractive.

So what are your options? Edmunds experts have highlighted three ways to more comfortably sell your vehicle amid the pandemic. Note that none of these options remove human interaction, but they are more of a known amount and you would be dealing with fewer people overall.


This option will be very useful for people who have already planned to buy a new car. By now, most franchise dealers have been trained on how to deal with customers during COVID-19. You’ll want to start by contacting the dealer you want to purchase from. Call ahead to make an appointment not only to get an evaluation of your trade-in vehicle, but also to test drive the vehicle you are interested in. This strategy allows you to maximize your time because the dealership can evaluate your car while you take one test drive another.

Note that you don’t have to make a decision on either front on this day, so you can take your time to think. But remember to keep trade and purchase negotiations separate to avoid confusion. Finally, you’ll want to compare the trade-in offer you get with an online review to serve as a benchmark to determine if you were offered a fair price. If the numbers are verified, the dealership will take care of the rest of the sale and you can focus on other tasks at hand.


This option is suitable for two types of sellers: 1) those who need money for their vehicle and don’t want to feel pressured into buying something else and 2) those who want a faster alternative to trade-in at a dealership. franchise. On the Edmunds site, for example, you can enter your vehicle identification number or license plate to get an instant deal on your vehicle. Then all you have to do is redeem the offer at a participating dealership – they’ll check the condition of your vehicle and check you out. There are very few people to interact with and you don’t have to get in the car with anyone for a test drive. If few people are at the dealership, you can get in and out in about an hour. Compare that to weeks of Craigslist or Facebook posts.

Another option is third-party car buying services, some online and some local, which specialize in remote vehicle purchase offers. They offer similar low contact services that can potentially generate more deals on your vehicle. Edmunds hasn’t tested these services, so be sure to read reviews on them before deciding who to do business with.


Many auto brokers also offer assistance in selling your vehicle. In this scenario, you are only dealing with one point of contact compared to a few at the dealership. You are not selling your vehicle to the broker. Instead, the broker will use their network of dealer contacts to find the best deal for it.

Make sure you find out in advance what fees the broker may charge and whether the sale is conditional on the purchase of another vehicle. We cannot guarantee all car brokers, so be sure to research them a bit and see what the reviews have to say.

EDMUNDS SAYS: There are safer alternatives to selling your car privately during the pandemic. These methods will allow you to get a fair price for your car while minimizing contact with others, and they can be more convenient than selling it yourself.


This story was provided to The Associated Press by the Edmunds automotive website. Ronald Montoya is the editor of consumer advice at Edmunds. Twitter: @ ronald_montoya8.

Related links:

Edmunds Car Assessment Tool

Start with an online offer when selling or trading in your car

How to sell a car

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